Effect of nitrogen rate on yield of tomato grown with seepage irrigation and reclaimed water

Monica Ozores-Hampton, Eric Simonne, Phyllis Gilreath, Steven Sargent, Daniel C. McClure, Thomas Wilkes, Eugene Mcavoy, Phil Stansly, Sanjay Shukla, Pam Roberts, Fritz Roka, Tom Obreza, Kent Cushman, Darrin Parmenter


Because reclaimed water may contain up to 9.9 ppm of nitrate-nitrogen, it may be a source of N that should be counted in the fertilization programs of seepage-irrigated tomato (Solanum lycopersicon L.). The objective of this study was to assess the contribution of non-fertilizer N sources on tomato grown with seepage irrigation and reclaimed water. The study was conducted in Spring 2006 in Palmetto, FL, with N rates ranging from 20 to 420 lb/acre. Based on a 50% use of N in reclaimed water and organic matter mineralization, an estimated 56 lb/acre of N were supplied by non-fertilizer sources. Sap NO3-N concentrations were similar and "sufficient" with N rates between 116 and 476 lb/acre throughout the season. Extra-large yield at first harvest (70% of total yield) responded slightly negatively to N rates. Total marketable, total extra-large, total first and second harvest yields, and fruit quality parameters did not respond to N rates. These results with spring-grown tomato harvested twice suggest that 1) the N contribution of the reclaimed water to the crop should be counted in the overall N fertilization program; 2) tomato yields and nutritional status responses to N rates from all sources were small; 3) more than 50% of the N supplied by the reclaimed water was used by the plant; and (4) grower's N rate could be reduced by 50% to 100% of the NO3-N contribution of the reclaimed water without reducing yield or quality, thereby resulting in a $18 to $37/acre reduction in fertilization cost.


best management practice; reuse-water

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283